Locus of Control (LOC)

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  • Locus of Control (LOC)
    • Internal
      • Largely a consquence of own behaviour
      • Associated with belief that one can control much of one's life and succeed in difficult/ stressful situations
      • More active in seeking knowledge and information concerning their situation
      • More political and attempt to influence others
    • External
      • What happens is controlled by outside factors and agents
      • "Things happen" and they are largely uncontroll-able
      • Luck and fate, tend to face stressful situations with a passive/ fatalistic attitude
    • Studies:  Relationship between independent behaviour and LOC
      • 1) Investigated the background of some disobedient participants from Milgram's first 4 obedience experiments. Disobedient = high internal LOC, high score on social responsibility scale
      • 2) Blass re-analysed Holland's results using more sophisticated statistical techniques - those with an internal LOC were more resistant to obedience pressures, especially if felt were being coerced or manipulated
      • 3) Meta-analysis of studies and found small +0.37 correlation between external LOC and conformity. Statistically significant, so suggests is a link
    • Studies: There is not a relationship between independent behaviour and locus
      • 1) 30 university students given range of conformity tasks (based on Asch) and also assessed with Rotter's LOC scale, those who conformed did not have different LOC scores but were less assertive
      • 2) Ps instructed to give increasinly painful ultrasound to "learner" by pressing a switch. 56 Ps told at highest (of 20 levels) ultrasound could cause skin damage.
        • 80% of Ps pressed all 20 switches, and LOC were not predictive of obedience, however 20% that disobeyed took more responsibility for actions
  • Studies: There is not a relationship between independent behaviour and locus
    • 1) 30 university students given range of conformity tasks (based on Asch) and also assessed with Rotter's LOC scale, those who conformed did not have different LOC scores but were less assertive
    • 2) Ps instructed to give increasinly painful ultrasound to "learner" by pressing a switch. 56 Ps told at highest (of 20 levels) ultrasound could cause skin damage.
      • 80% of Ps pressed all 20 switches, and LOC were not predictive of obedience, however 20% that disobeyed took more responsibility for actions

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